With the expansion in secondhand trading platforms, more individuals, including millennials, stay-at-home mothers, and office workers, have fallen in love with second-hand transactions. At first, we enjoyed the items, but soon after, we ran short on money, so we decided to take photos of them and put them up for sale on a secondhand platform. Photographs are taken with great care, and consideration of the background and lighting raise interest among people to buy secondhand items. The smartphone alarm goes off, indicating someone is interested in buying the item. The seller and buyer decide on a time and place to meet and bargain the price. The two depart for home after making the transaction full of joy.
The ever-evolving secondhand transaction
Secondhand transactions center on the buying and selling of used items. Secondhand transactions take place on various media platforms, including "Joonggonara," "Danggeun Market" and "Bungaejangter." While the transactions also occur offline in flea markets and free markets, the offline approach has drawn attention for concerns such as close contact during the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, online platforms are continuously growing. At Yonsei University, vending machines enable untact transactions. One startup company 'Parabara', allows buyers to make purchases card payments once the seller has placed an items in a transparent box. These days, many consumers are drawn to secondhand transactions because people want products that are kept well and sold cheaply. Because of consumer interest, secondhand trading continues to develop. Clothing accounted for the largest number of secondhand transactions. According to Hankook Research, as of 2018, clothing, electronics, and books are the top three items sold secondhand. In other words, transactions between individuals account for a high proportion of secondhand sales, and secondhand transactions are now embedded in everyday life. For more information, refer to the Coverstory in The Sookmyung Times No. 363.
There are advantages and disadvantages to secondhand transactions. First of all, the biggest advantage is that items are cheaper than brand new ones. Recently, items sold secondhand have expanded to luxury goods, cars, and smartphones, there are even classic cars and paintings, whose value increases as they age, are being bought and sold. The other great thing is that people can sell items without having to make purchases. In other words, individuals can earn money by selling things that are no longer of use. On the other hand, the biggest drawback is reliability, especially when goods in poor condition are sold or when goods that have been paid for are not delivered. Due to the nature of secondhand transactions, it is difficult to demand responsibility from buyers and sellers. Kim Namhee, a secondhand transaction user said, "Users must always keep in mind an old story about a seller who sent bricks to the buyer instead of the advertised item. I doubt sellers, so I search for information about the seller several times before making a deal." As Kim indicates, individuals should be careful because the shortcomings of secondhand transactions have not yet been resolved. Nevertheless, users are increasing and methods are becoming more diverse.
Why not sell items you don't need?
SMT reporters began to look for things they didn't use or need. The items were also checked that they were in good condition and with no problems for others. Reporters decided to sell the most affordable and in demand item, namely clothing. They searched through their wardrobe for clothing that did not fit, and eventually decided to upload leather jackets and a red knit sweater. The transaction location was in Cheongpa-dong, near Sookmyung Women's University, because reporters wanted to make the trade in person. The original net price of the leather jackets and knit sweater were 150,000 won and 30,000 won, respectively, but as they were being sold as secondhand items, the asking prices were 40,000 won and 10,000 won, respectively. Not long after uploading the items, several likes were received. Sellers do not know the identity of users who liked the posting, but the number of users who clicked like are done in real time. When doing secondhand transactions through an app, the buyer can chat with the seller if the person wants to know the status and details of the product or if the buyer wants to make an appointment for the deal. Users interested in making purchases also upload comments to the posts. The number of users sellers chatted with are easily viewed by others.
Among those expressing a willingness to purchase SMT reporters items through chat, reporters agreed to meet one face-to-face who was the closest and easiest to meet. The leather jacket was to be sold at the main gate of Sookmyung Women's University while the knit sweater was to be sold the following day at Exit 10 of Sookmyung Women's University Station. Both deals went smoothly. Both parties in the transaction arrived at the agreed upon time and discussed maturely the deal. Buyers inspected the items and then deposited the agreed upon price through the Internet back accounts. Concluding the deal, SMT reporter sellers were able to dispose of clothing they did not need, and the buyers were able to obtain clothes they desired at low prices. After the transaction ended, sellers and buyers left reviews of the event on the app. The seller's transaction reliability is measured later, and this measurement creates a sense of credibility for other buyers considering making purchases from the seller. Once a review is complete by both the seller and buyer, the deal is officially terminated.
Waiting for you
It may seem unusual to trade used goods in modern society, where clean industrial goods are overflowing. However, through these deals, people reduce waste by selling items they don't need any more instead of tossing them in the trash. It is a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers, and it is efficient. You, too, may have several items you don't need but are in good condition. Or, perhaps you would like something but the cost of it brand new is too much for you. Secondhand good might be for you, and it could make your consumption pattern more effective.
Jung Kim Hyeseung / Society Section Editor
Oh Hwang Junhee / Society Section Editor